Russia-Ukraine, Putin is currently losing the war to Europe

After 10 months in Ukraine it has bogged down and the energy weapon is doing less damage than expected

Ten months of war on Ukraine. What was supposed to be a lightning special operation got bogged down in a conflict of position. Vladimir Putin is once again faced with a crossroads: acknowledging reality and preparing for serious negotiations to arrive first at a truce and then at peace or launch a new broad offensive to try once again to bend the resistance of Volodymyr Zelenskyalways supported by the Western front which holds together Europe and, especially as regards arms and money, the United States.

Analysts are divided between those who foresee a new acceleration of the war in the first months of 2023 with Russia still convinced of being able to obtain the full result, the annexation of as much Ukrainian territory as possible, and those who, on the contrary, believe that there are elements to think that the cost of the offensive is becoming increasingly unbearable even for Putin. Difficult to go further with forecasts.

However, some signals can be recorded. The first can be caught in the words of the head of the Kremlin. He used the word war for the first time in public and used it to say that Moscow’s goal is to end the war with Ukraine. He means everything and the opposite of everything, of course. Because war can end with a victory that forces surrender or with a negotiation.

Another significant element is reported by the Wall Street Journal. According to the American newspaper, around February 24, 2023, the team of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky intends to present a peace plan. European and Ukrainian diplomats are currently filling the plan with concrete contents that they would propose on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. On this front too, it does not mean that the objective of peace passes through a reduction in the intensity of the war. Because Kiev wants to prepare for possible peace negotiations, having achieved military victories capable of changing the balance at the table.

Then, there is the weight of economic warfare, which up to now has been symmetrical with respect to military warfare. And the data show that Putin’s plans were different from what the situation in Russia, and above all in Europe, demonstrates. Energy weapons, gas and oil, should have been the deterrent capable of limiting support for Ukraine in the first phase. And it wasn’t like that. In the longer term, blackmail playing with the supply taps should have raised tensions to unbearable levels, forcing Europe to step back to save itself from the harsh winter. Again, this was not the case. The purchase of gas elsewhere, the interventions on the mix of energy sources, the reduction of consumption and now also the ceiling on the price of gas, of little use in concrete application but nonetheless a factor for the trend in prices, have economics in Putin’s hands. At the same time, the Russian economy, which is declining at a slower pace than expected, is however seeing every prospect of future development compromised, with Russians becoming impoverished, all of them, week after week.

This scenario allows us to argue that, if the outcome of the war with Ukraine is still totally uncertain, Putin is currently losing the war with Europe. For now, because the problems have not been resolved and if the conflict were to last for a long time, the greatest criticalities could occur during the winter of 2023-2024. (Of Fabio Insenga)